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Removal of makeshift memorial at site of London, Ont. vehicle attack begins

Click to play video: 'Deadly London attack: ‘Remarkable’ often used to describe Muslim family killed' Deadly London attack: ‘Remarkable’ often used to describe Muslim family killed
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Mayor Ed Holder says a permanent memorial is in the works, but in the interim, the makeshift memorial at the site of the vehicle attack in London, Ont., is being dismantled.

The city says representatives of the Afzaal family, members of the London Muslim Mosque and city staff began removing the items placed at the corner of Hyde Park and South Carriage roads on Wednesday.

Read more: London and Quebec City mayors join forces in joint letter supporting action summit on Islamophobia

Salman Afzaal, 46, Madiha Salman, 44, Yumna Salman, 15, and Talat Afzaal, 74, were killed in the June 6 attack. The only survivor was Fayez Afzaal, 9, who sustained serious, but non-life threatening injuries.

Police have referred to the attack as a hate crime and say the Muslim family, out for an evening walk, was targeted because of their faith.

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A roadside memorial grew quickly, with a stream of people stopping by the scene over the following days to lay flowers, toys, or put up signs.

The city says the toys, keepsakes and mementos removed from the site will be kept and given to the family.

“All of the flowers that have been removed at this point — and there’s been phenomenal and considerable support, huge support from the community — our intention is to mulch those flowers and save those for potential use as the family sees fit,” Holder said Thursday.

Any remaining materials will be disposed of, recycling as much as possible.

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Read more: ‘A racist city that pretends it isn’t’: London, Ont. attack didn’t happen in vacuum, residents say

Holder added that city council has already passed a motion in support of plans to install a permanent memorial, but the city will do so in collaboration with the family.

“What’s truly important to us right now is that we respect the sensitivity of the needs and direction of the Afzaal family,” he said.

“We respect their circumstances and are at a point where we will await their direction. But it is absolutely our intention to proceed subject to their direction and their support of what we’re looking to do.”

The city adds that once the items are removed, any additional flowers placed at the site, which will be regularly monitored, “will be handled with the same level of care and respect when they are removed.”

A 20-year-old London man faces murder and terrorism charges in the case.

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— with files from Global News’ Andrew Graham.

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